Job Search Stalled? Do What the Pros Do.

I was reading a golf magazine recently and a particular article caught my attention. It was about what one of the top pros on the PGA tour does when he gets stalled or in a slump. He simply goes back to basics. He goes back to when he first started playing golf to review if one of the 4 basics of golf have changed. He indicated most of the time this fixes the problem.

Your job search may need the exact same thing. If your search is stalled, not attaining the traction you want, or the level of traction you were getting isn’t happening now, going back to the basics may be the ticket.

Like golf, there are basics in a job search that get out of alignment. What once worked, isn’t any longer. We often blame something or someone else. Anyone who plays golf knows this and always blames the equipment for the problem. It is never operator error. If only just getting a new putter or driver would fix the problem. It rarely does, but at least it’s fun to try new equipment.

Rather than blame others it probably makes sense to first look at, “have you changed” or “have you picked up a bad habit along the way without even know it.” Chances are these have a higher probability of being the problem.

So let’s take the search back to basics.

1) Start with you.  After 3 or 4 months in a job search most candidates have gotten so much input and help they no longer know what is right and what is wrong or what they were doing well and what wasn’t working. It all starts to blur together. It may be time to stop getting input from all of these sources.

I recommend limiting your input to a few select people/experts. Preferably to those that have knowledge in the specific area of your search. By now you should have identified the experts you trust, those that have given you honest and often tough advice, those that excel in job search knowledge and/or someone that brings a unique talent to your party. For example, if you need help in selling yourself, find a sales trainer or expert in sales and ask them to help you. Try to develop  a  “Personal Advisory Board.” Some may want to be paid, but most will not.

2) Focus on what isn’t working and what is working. For example, if you are getting interviews but not the offer, chances are your resume and networking is working and your interviewing skills are what needs to be fixed. On the other hand, if you are no longer getting interviews and once were, chances are your marketing plan or networking plan needs to be looked at or redone.

Don’t waste time trying to fix what isn’t broken.

3) Evaluate the fundamentals of your search.

A) Take a look at your preparation. Consider videoing yourself, review what questions to ask in an interview, how do you prepare for an interview, have you identified the right companies and people, are you relying too heavily on the Internet, etc. This list could go on and on.  You need to be objective.

B) Has your resume changed? Has it gone through so many version changes it no longer really reflects your abilities and accomplishments? It could also be the opposite problem, it is too generic and doesn’t really sell you. It is not properly marketing you. Maybe you should talk to a marketing or sales expert for help.

C) Is your marketing and networking plan still effective or has it gotten outdated? Go back and identify more company targets, especially if your geographic requirements have changed. Make a serious evaluation about how you are networking and who you are networking with. Consider some new networking groups to get involved with, reestablish some old connections, and identify new connections that are focused in the area you need.

Stop meeting people for the sake of meeting people and comparing whose business card stack is highest.

D) Conduct and video a mock interview. Take a serious look at yourself on video. How do you come across, what is your body language saying, how do answer the question, do you actually answer the question asked or what you think they asked, do you have eye contact, etc. This can be key to those getting interviews and not offers.

Consider getting back to basics. Take a fresh start on your search to re-energize it.

Join our Linkedin Job Search Networking Group. The topics, discussions and articles will be a good place to start. Over 3300 people have joined. It is free and should be a major resource during your search. CLICK HERE to join.

Download our FREE Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard as a place to start. It will help you identify your search strengths and weaknesses. CLICK HERE to download your scorecard.

I welcome your thoughts and encourage your feedback and comments if this was helpful.

Brad Remillard


About the Author

Brad Remillard is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Brad is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.


  • By Irene Becker, November 21, 2009 @ 9:43 am

    Great article. As a career transition expert, I agree. Getting back to basics is key. One of the basics that is however different in this marketplace is the lead time to land a new position and the volatility one encounters in job search and interviewing is the quid pro quo.

    Moving forward demands a great strategy, strong personal branding and an understanding of one’s marketing channels. Relying on one’s network, job postings or recruiters alone is not a strategy. Determining the right marketing channels and target marketing with a resume, marketing materials and communication skills that put you ahead of the pack is!

  • bradremillard

    By bradremillard, November 21, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

    Great points. I complete agree. Lead time is critical. I don’t understand why so many candidate wait until the last minute to get help.
    I wrote a blog on this. Too often the candidate is desperate and then they expect a coach or help them find a job in a week.

  • By lynne, November 21, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

    Great article! I have been on a career search for almost one year. I have great skills etc. But I am realizing my interviewing skills are definitely lacking. I worked with a career transition center for 3 months and much of the advice i’ve got has not been pertinent to my situation. At all. I am going to take the advice to practice interviewing with someone, and capturing it on tape. I have a feeling I’m going to see things that embarass me and that i can definitely spin into a positive thing. thanks much.

  • bradremillard

    By bradremillard, November 21, 2009 @ 10:49 pm

    You may be a little embarrassed but it will be worth the effort. It sounds like it is time for you to get back to basics. Try getting our job search self-assessment scorecard to identify any problems.
    Go to the homepage to get yours.

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